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Hustler Magazine Inc. v. Falwell

Significance, Political Cartoons Or Parodies

Petitioners

Hustler Magazine, Inc., et al.

Respondent

Jerry Falwell

Petitioners' Claim

Under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a public figure cannot recover damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress caused by a magazine's publication of an advertisement parody that used the figure's name and likeness.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioners

Alan L. Isaacson

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Norman Roy Grutman

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist (writing for the Court), Antonin Scalia, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

None (Anthony M. Kennedy did not participate)

Place

Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

24 February 1988

Decision

Held that a public figure cannot recover for emotional injury caused by publication of a parody that could not be reasonably taken as a statement of fact.

Related Cases

  • New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964).
  • Garrison v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 64 (1964).
  • FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978).

Sources

Cornell. http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/

Further Readings

  • Alexander, Larry. "Banning Hate Speech and the Sticks and Stones Defense." Constitutional Commentary, Spring 1996, pp. 71-100.
  • Johnson, John W., ed. Historic U.S. Court Cases, 1690-1990: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland Publishing, 1992.
  • Smolla, Rodney A. Jerry Falwell v. Larry Flynt: The First Amendment on Trial. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1990.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988